CPN-UML taskforce formed to settle the feud between party Chair and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal ended its meeting today inconclusively, but representatives of both the leaders said they were hopeful of reconciling their differences tomorrow. The meeting went on till late in the night in an attempt to finalise a unity deal, but leaders of the Nepal faction remained sceptical about the PM's intention.

UML leader Asta Laxmi Shakya, who is close to Nepal, said leaders of his faction had doubt that the PM's olive branch to Nepal, whom he had expelled from the party recently, might just be aimed at averting crisis that may arise after the Supreme Court delivers its verdict in the HoR dissolution case.

If the SC decides to reinstate the House of Representatives, Oli would need the support of other parties, but before that he would also need to keep his own house in order to remain in power.

Shakya said Nepal, who held talks with Oli yesterday, was not very confident of what Oli's true intentions were.

If the PM succeeds in reconciling differences with the Nepal faction, then he would be able to create a division in the five-party alliance, which was formed as a result of conscious efforts of Nepal and CPN-Maoist Centre Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

Taskforce member Surendra Prasad Pandey said if a unity deal was reached then his party leaders who had signed documents supporting Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba would not withdraw their signatures, but would not support Deuba in his bid to become the next prime minister.

Another taskforce member Subas Chandra Nembang, who is close to Oli, did not want to give details about the outcome of the taskforce meeting. "Let's see what happens," he said when asked if the task force would reach a deal today.

Oli has agreed to revive all party committees that existed before the CPN-UML's merger with CPN-Maoist Centre, but has sought a deal with the rival faction on the management of former CPN-MC leaders who defected to the UML in the aftermath of the dissolution of the HoR. He had warned leaders of the rival faction to withdraw their signatures form Deuba's petition and also from the petition that they had filed at the Supreme Court along with other leaders challenging the dissolution of the HoR, but leaders of the rival faction did not bow to Oli's threat.

Shakya said leaders of the rival faction had reasonable doubt about Oli's intention because he never kept his word. She said the PM's recent political moves, particularly the dissolution of the HoR, was against democracy, communist movements, and the constitution. She said Oli, who was supposed to help strengthen political parties, weakened his own party and even tried to split another party.

The Janata Samajwadi Party-Nepal, meanwhile, is on the verge of split now over the issue of who the party should support - Oli or Deuba in their bid for prime ministership.

Deuba had staked claim to form a new government under Article 76 (5) of the constitution, but President Bidhya Devi Bhandari rejected the claims of both Deuba and Oli and dissolved the HoR on May 22 on the recommendation of the government.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 9 2021, of The Himalayan Times.